On This Day in Napoleonic History – 13 of April 1814

Map_of_ElbaSoldiers want Napoleon reinstated

Following Napoleon’s unconditional abdication, the troops revolted, demanding the Emperor’s return and wanting to march on Paris. White flag of the Bourbons was burnt, whole regiments were close to mutiny and officers who attempted to restore order were fired upon. In the words of Charles de Gaulle, ‘those he made suffer most, the soldiers, were the very ones who were most faithful to him.’

The Allies didn’t think it was safe to keep Napoleon in Fontainebleau, so near Paris, surrounded by troops who were still loyal to him. They had to move him somewhere where he would no longer pose a threat. By the Treaty of Fontainebleau they gave Napoleon the island of Elba for life, allowing him to use his Imperial title and making generous financial provisions for the whole family.

They were gravely mistaken in their belief that Elba was a safe place to hold the deposed Emperor, however. Within eleven months Napoleon would be back in Paris in what was the most amazing and miraculous return to power the world had ever seen.

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